Starting a speciality coffee roastery
Back in 2012 there were very few roasters in Sussex with a focus on Specialty coffee. Using a 1kg roaster and our garage we decided to change this. We’ve learned a lot over the years and we’ve grown (though we’re still a small team of just 5 people) but what drives us stays the same. Our goal is to source the best, ethically traded coffees in the world and through developing a highly methodical approach to roasting with the highest possible focus on quality control, bring them to our customers.
We first started selling our coffee through a stall at the Horsham food market. Horsham, if you don’t know, is a beautiful market town in the heart of Sussex and, of course, our namesake. We’d be there every Thursday and Saturday come rain or shine from 2012 until late 2013. It was a steep learning curve and as we muddled through demand for our coffee increased so we must’ve been doing something right. Coffee production wasn’t the only thing that grew - our family did too! So eventually we had to give up the stall at the market after the birth of our second son, because evidently trying to steam a flat white and feed a small child simultaneously isn’t good for anyone. Our experience at the market was incredibly valuable and ultimately was the launch pad for what Horsham Coffee Roaster was to become and is today. It also helped us meet many of the wonderful folks involved in the local coffee community such as our now long standing team member Stephen, who at the time was on his way to Toronto - the city that started our own coffee journey - to begin his path as superstar barista. Stephen now owns and runs Urban Botanica, a fantastic coffee shop in Kennington, South London. Leaving the market really allowed us to focus on the sourcing and wholesale side of things as well as the space to increase our roasting capacity.
Bradley and Amelia at the market stall back in 2012
Through our market presence we very quickly found local customers keen to use our coffee. Now a few years on we have a wholesale family that reaches from the South of England to Scotland and into mainland Europe. The business has moved twice to facilitate growth and we now roast using a 35kg Loring S35.
In 2014, in partnership with Chris Campbell, we opened our flagship cafe in Brighton, Bond Street Coffee. In 2018 we, alongside Stephen Wood, opened Urban Botanica in Kennington, South London. Both coffee shops are dedicated to serving single origins coffees on espresso and filter.
Alongside the philosophy that has informed our development over the years our core focus for sourcing has become our Relationship Coffees. These are coffees sourced by us through direct links with farmers and producers alongside our import partners. Currently we have established partnerships in Rwanda, Kenya and Costa Rica. Well chosen importing partners are essential to match us with farmers and co-operatives that are dedicated to producing specialty grade (i.e. the highest possible quality) coffees. We are committed to purchasing ethically traded coffees with full traceability to its origins. We also endeavour to obtain full transparency of our coffee’s financial trail, giving us and our customers, peace of mind that each farmer has been well paid for the outstanding coffee they produce. We were the first UK roaster to sign The Pledge at transparency.coffee. If you'd like to know more about this please read our transparency report. In 2019 we partnered with One Tree Planted with a commitment to plant one tree for every 1kg or Rwandan and Kenyan coffee sold via our website and to our wholesale customers. Our low emissions Loring S35 keeps our emissions low but planting trees puts us into carbon credit. Visit our tree planting page to read more about the project.
The coffees we stock will typically be exclusive, specialty lots that have been carefully scrutinised by us through our own cupping and quality control procedures. We roast in the medium to light colour range allowing for the characteristics of each coffee to dominate and enabling versatility across multiple brew methods.
We are fanatical about the quality our coffee, and this obsession goes from the green coffee we purchase right through to the final cup.